Time to replace shocks - recommend?

Ripinator

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After many failed attempts to compress and tie the front KYB shocks for installation, I wimped and finally outsourced the job. I found a local guy with 25 years experience at his own shop who had sold it and downsized to a small shop working ONLY on older cars. Took it in today and it was done in a couple of hours with no drama and a reasonable price. It turned out that one of the Monroes I had installed when I first got the car was completely blown out and the upper bushing on the other one had self destructed, no wonder it was bottoming out! Went the long way home over some poor roads and the difference is amazing. I may still fiddle with the back shocks later but the brake job will come next.

I did ask this guy how he compressed the shocks. He said he tried to do it manually without success and finally took it back to his old shop and used the hydraulic press! Money well spent.

View attachment 495686

There ya go. . .
 

CBODY67

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Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that there are SOME things which are best for others to do, which can be a variable situation. Either they have the expertise or access to the correct tools to do the job with, which makes it go much smoother and faster. Seeing how they do it that one time can lead to the purchase of tools (for later jobs of that nature), having a better place to work, or a longer-term working relationship with the business.

Just some observations,
CBODY67
 

TxDon

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I NOW own a 20 ton hydraulic press, but when I installed my KYBs I didn't. It takes a little practice using the method I described, which I likely shan't use again, having the press. STILL, its a good method to know, if you bust a shock on the Road out in Shitzplattsburg, Bumfukt Co, west Tx. I've not made that I-20 run in nigh on 19 yrs, but I'm sure of ONE thing: it won't be any prettier or easier.

Yes, you did best to hire a shop in your case. Only so much self-torture can be stood when working over these old cars. DON'T let them WORK YOU OVER!

Happy Moparing Don! :D
I actually contacted some friends with larger shops to see if they had a press but no luck. Very glad I went this way.
 

TxDon

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Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that there are SOME things which are best for others to do, which can be a variable situation. Either they have the expertise or access to the correct tools to do the job with, which makes it go much smoother and faster. Seeing how they do it that one time can lead to the purchase of tools (for later jobs of that nature), having a better place to work, or a longer-term working relationship with the business.

Just some observations,
CBODY67
Funny, I used to have a rule that I would always farm out exhaust work, shocks and heavy suspension work but then I started to go back under for some of this - should not have forgotten the rules!
 

Gerald Morris

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Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that there are SOME things which are best for others to do, which can be a variable situation. Either they have the expertise or access to the correct tools to do the job with, which makes it go much smoother and faster. Seeing how they do it that one time can lead to the purchase of tools (for later jobs of that nature), having a better place to work, or a longer-term working relationship with the business.

Just some observations,
CBODY67

Yes, its best to hire the Pros when its labor beyond your ability or expertise, for SURE! Some times though, one can stretch the bounds of ability through experience. If you CAN go up one more rung on the ladder, without slipping, you might gain a new perspective and access things previously unavailable.

Or one might slip, fall, suffer horrid consequences born of pride and folly. But even in that worst case, one knows one tried, and won't be tormented by doubt.
 

TxDon

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Long time since I posted here but I wanted to share my suspension and shock related experience. I haven't been happy with the ride or stance of this car since I got it, always thought it was too low in the back. All the springs and torsion bars are stock original. When I got it had bad Monroe shocks all around with load leveler shocks on the back. I replaced them all with similar but new Monroes - the car rode a little better but was very stiff and harsh over bumps yet it porpoised and bottomed out on big road dips. The front Monroes failed quickly so after checking into this thread I bought a full set of KYB's, the fronts were installed and felt better but still too harsh. I decided I would remove the rear load leveler Monroes and put on the KYB's with the addition of some clamp on style rear helper springs, which I did recently. (first photo) When I took it out for the first test drive it was the worst ever! Terribly harsh and noisy and bottomed so bad on a dip I was afraid I had damaged something.

At this point I was really pissed. I went back and re-read some threads on here plus did searches on ride issues plus googled and You-Tubed. Finally a memory clicked in my brain back to the early 1970's when I owned a 67 Plymouth GTX. In typical fashion back then I was trying to fit bigger wheels and tires and in the process I clamped the rear springs and cranked the torsion bars up higher. I remembered the car rode terribly and all those mods came right off and the stock suspension worked the best as designed. So, I removed the rear helper springs and then did something I should have done when I got the car - measured the front end height exactly as described in the shop manual. You do two measurements on each side, one at the bottom of the ball joint and the other at the bottom of the torsion bar adjuster blade. The maximum difference between those two points should be 1 1/8"...MINE WERE ALMOST 3", CLOSE TO TRIPLE THE CORRECT HEIGHT! I cleaned the adjuster bolts and soaked them in WD-40, then loosened both sides 5 full turns. This was a total guess but it actually got the height down to within 1/2" of correct. The car is now level front to back as the factory intended. (second photo)

Results are everything and my next test drive was amazing. With factory ride height and suspension travel restored this car is now a pleasure to drive. It is smooth and noise free. Sharp bumps still are felt but the shocks actually do their job to minimize them. Yes the car is a bit floaty especially over dips and leans a bit in corners but that is exactly what was expected and delivered back in 1966. That is what I have been after all along so I'm happy.

I do think there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding out there about ride height, torsion bar adjustment, and especially any suspension mod that reduces suspension travel in any way. All I can say is try it first with the factory settings before immediately jumping into mods, Mopar engineering has always been the best.

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Gerald Morris

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Quite right! Those instructions about ride height are CRUCIAL to getting a good ride. These cars depend on ALL the ride dimensions being in spec, with fairly tight tolerances. I DID WELL though with the set of new rear springs from Springs n Things, though I had them arched 2" over stock, but that's because I had reduced the front ride height back to stock. I suspect the caster was sub optimal on old Mathilda, but not too much. I plan to put the rear springs on Gertrude this summer, God willing. ALL the front suspension needs replacing, given its age and the state of wear and rot but I admit Gertrude still drives VERY nicely on the 14" wheels she came with. I replaced the swaybar to suspension rod bushings about 6 weeks ago, all to the Good. Those Mevotech bushings ride very well. Gertrude was infested by Gabriel Hi-jackers some time in the past 30 years, and I have the KYB replacements, but have been VERY short of time this past winter.....
 
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